Ethical StandardsSections 1 - 11.08
Sociologists adhere to the highest possible technical standards that are reasonable and responsible in their research, teaching, practice, and service activities. They rely on scientifically and professionally derived knowledge; act with honesty and integrity; and avoid untrue, deceptive, or undocumented statements in undertaking work-related functions or activities.
(a) Sociologists conduct research, teach, practice, and
provide service only within the boundaries of their competence,
based on their education, training, supervised experience, or
appropriate professional experience.
(a) In research, teaching, practice, service, or other
situations where sociologists render professional judgments or
present their expertise, they accurately and fairly represent
their areas and degrees of expertise.
(a) Sociologists provide proper training and supervision to
their students, supervisees, or employees and take reasonable
steps to see that such persons perform services responsibly,
competently, and ethically.
Sociologists do not engage in discrimination in their work based on age; gender; race; ethnicity; national origin; religion; sexual orientation; disability; health conditions; marital, domestic, or parental status; or any other applicable basis proscribed by law.
(a) Whether for personal, economic, or professional advantage,
sociologists do not exploit persons over whom they have direct or
indirect supervisory, evaluative, or other authority such as
students, supervisees, employees, or research participants.
Sociologists do not engage in harassment of any person, including students, supervisees, employees, or research participants. Harassment consists of a single intense and severe act or of multiple persistent or pervasive acts which are demeaning, abusive, offensive, or create a hostile professional or workplace environment. Sexual harassment may include sexual solicitation, physical advance, or verbal or non-verbal conduct that is sexual in nature. Racial harassment may include unnecessary, exaggerated, or unwarranted attention or attack, whether verbal or non-verbal, because of a person's race or ethnicity.
Sociologists have an obligation to adhere to the highest
ethical standards when participating in employment related
decisions, when seeking employment, or when planning to resign
from a position.
8.02 Responsibilities of Employees
Sociologists maintain the highest degree of integrity in their professional work and avoid conflicts of interest and the appearance of conflict. Conflicts of interest arise when sociologists' personal or financial interests prevent them from performing their professional work in an unbiased manner. In research, teaching, practice, and service, sociologists are alert to situations that might cause a conflict of interest and take appropriate action to prevent conflict or disclose it to appropriate parties.
9.01 Adherence to Professional Standards
Irrespective of their personal or financial interests or those of their employers or clients, sociologists adhere to professional and scientific standards in (1) the collection, analysis, or interpretation of data; (2) the reporting of research; (3) the teaching, professional presentation, or public dissemination of sociological knowledge; and (4) the identification or implementation of appropriate contractual, consulting, or service activities.
Sociologists disclose relevant sources of financial support and relevant personal or professional relationships that may have the appearance of or potential for a conflict of interest to an employer or client, to the sponsors of their professional work, or in public speeches and writing.
9.03 Avoidance of Personal Gain
(a) Under all circumstances, sociologists do not use or
otherwise seek to gain from information or material received in a
confidential context (e.g., knowledge obtained from reviewing a
manuscript or serving on a proposal review panel), unless they
have authorization to do so or until that information is
otherwise made publicly available.
9.04 Decisionmaking in the Workplace
In their workplace, sociologists take appropriate steps to avoid conflicts of interest or the appearance of conflicts, and carefully scrutinize potentially biasing affiliations or relationships. In research, teaching, practice, or service, such potentially biasing affiliations or relationships include, but are not limited to, situations involving family, business, or close personal friendships or those with whom sociologists have had strong conflict or disagreement.
9.05 Decisionmaking Outside of the Workplace
In professional activities outside of their workplace, sociologists in all circumstances abstain from engaging in deliberations and decisions that allocate or withhold benefits or rewards from individuals or institutions if they have biasing affiliations or relationships. These biasing affiliations or relationships are: 1) current employment or being considered for employment at an organization or institution that could be construed as benefiting from the decision; 2) current officer or board member of an organization or institution that could be construed as benefiting from the decision; 3) current employment or being considered for employment at the same organization or institution where an individual could benefit from the decision; 4) a spouse, domestic partner, or known relative who as an individual could benefit from the decision; or 5) a current business or professional partner, research collaborator, employee, supervisee, or student who as an individual could benefit from the decision.
Sociologists adhere to the highest professional standards in public communications about their professional services, credentials and expertise, work products, or publications, whether these communications are from themselves or from others.
10.01 Public Communications
(a) Sociologists take steps to ensure the accuracy of all
public communications. Such public communications include, but
are not limited to, directory listings; personal resumes or
curriculum vitae; advertising; brochures or printed matter;
interviews or comments to the media; statements in legal
proceedings; lectures and public oral presentations; or other
10.02 Statements by Others
(a) Sociologists who engage or employ others to create or
place public statements that promote their work products,
professional services, or other activities retain responsibility
for such statements.
Sociologists have an obligation to ensure that confidential information is protected. They do so to ensure the integrity of research and the open communication with research participants and to protect sensitive information obtained in research, teaching, practice, and service. When gathering confidential information, sociologists should take into account the long-term uses of the information, including its potential placement in public archives or the examination of the information by other researchers or practitioners.
11.01 Maintaining Confidentiality
(a) Sociologists take reasonable precautions to protect the
confidentiality rights of research participants, students,
employees, clients, or others.
11.02 Limits of Confidentiality
(a) Sociologists inform themselves fully about all laws and
rules which may limit or alter guarantees of confidentiality.
They determine their ability to guarantee absolute
confidentiality and, as appropriate, inform research
participants, students, employees, clients, or others of any
limitations to this guarantee at the outset consistent with
ethical standards set forth in 11.02(b).
11.03 Discussing Confidentiality and Its Limits
(a) When sociologists establish a scientific or professional
relationship with persons, they discuss (1) the relevant
limitations on confidentiality, and (2) the foreseeable uses of
the information generated through their professional work.
11.04 Anticipation of Possible Uses of Information
(a) When research requires maintaining personal identifiers in
data bases or systems of records, sociologists delete such
identifiers before the information is made publicly available.
11.05 Electronic Transmission of Confidential Information
Sociologists use extreme care in delivering or transferring any confidential data, information, or communication over public computer networks. Sociologists are attentive to the problems of maintaining confidentiality and control over sensitive material and data when use of technological innovations, such as public computer networks, may open their professional and scientific communication to unauthorized persons.
11.06 Anonymity of Sources
(a) Sociologists do not disclose in their writings, lectures,
or other public media confidential, personally identifiable
information concerning their research participants, students,
individual or organizational clients, or other recipients of
their service which is obtained during the course of their work,
unless consent from individuals or their legal representatives
has been obtained.
11.07 Minimizing Intrusions on Privacy
(a) To minimize intrusions on privacy, sociologists include in written and oral reports, consultations, and public communications only information germane to the purpose for which the communication is made.
(b) Sociologists discuss confidential information or evaluative data concerning research participants, students, supervisees, employees, and individual or organizational clients only for appropriate scientific or professional purposes and only with persons clearly concerned with such matters.
11.08 Preservation of Confidential Information
(a) Sociologists take reasonable steps to ensure that records,
data, or information are preserved in a confidential manner
consistent with the requirements of this Code of Ethics,
recognizing that ownership of records, data, or information may
also be governed by law or institutional principles.
Last Updated on January 08, 2005